AFC’s Patterson should recuse himself as PAC chair -Minister Teixeira

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Hon. Gail Teixeira says it is in the best interest of the Opposition, the Government and the public for Hon. David Patterson MP to recuse himself from chairing the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

While appearing on DPI’s “The Progress Report” Minister Teixeira said Mr. Patterson should voluntarily resign from the post given the fact that he is under scrutiny.

An audit report into operations at the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation and the Asphalt Plant revealed that the former Minister accepted gifts valued millions of dollars from these agencies, which fell within his purview at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

“It is one thing to be accused and they take you to court, but another thing when the press has made public some of the issues, very public, with receipts and invoices…So we felt and the public felt because there were a lot of comments on social media and in the press, that he should not be Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee,” Minister Teixeira said.

As a result, on Monday, she brought a motion before the PAC seeking to remove him as the Chair. While Mr. Patterson eventually agreed to step down as chair as the motion was being debated, the two-hour long session ended unsuccessfully and the meeting was suspended.

“The Public Accounts Committee is not in the name of Mr. Patterson, it is in the name of the Parliamentary committee in which the Opposition chairs and so we probably have to go back to the Committee of Selection and see whether they change their mind,” Minister Teixeira said.

She highlighted that if Mr. Patterson voluntarily resigns and the members of his team refuse to take up the position, the PAC cannot function as the Government cannot fill the post of Chair.

“I don’t know where it will go because the behaviour is bad and I think it has gotten worse since 2012; the kind of engagements we were able to have with the then Opposition… that behaviour, that willingness is not there and I refuse to see the Accounts Committee as a reserve of Mr. Patterson,” Minister Teixeira said.

Going forward, she noted that the committee will be “quite a challenge” but hopes that the APNU+AFC understands that chairing the body will be in their interest.